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Volunteer Training and Professional Development

The Training page for Volunteer Today has historically focused on tips for trainers. Each issue will now have information on some aspect of professional development for managers of volunteers and some articles on how to be a better trainer of volunteers. The author of this page, Nancy Macduff, is open to ideas and suggestions from readers on what might be useful information in the area of professional development. You can email her at: editor@volunteertoday.com.

~ December 2007 ~ Topics

Check Out Your Training ALQ (Adult Learning Quotient)


Check Out Your Training ALQ (Adult Learning Quotient)

There are certain elements of any training program that increase the likelihood that the information being imparted will "stick." The adult learner grasps concepts and facts to put to use in their assigned role in the organization. Here is a checklist to see effective your training is as an adult learning model.

Training Activities Checklist

Directions: Read the questions below. When you are finished read the answers on the answer sheets.

_____ 1. Can you identify what you are teaching (knowledge, skill, behavior,
application, value, or interest)?

If "yes," which is it? _______________________________________

_____ 2. Do the activities go from the simple to the complex?

_____ 3 . Can the learner bring his/her present life to bear with the teaching
technique you are using?

_____ 4. Do your activities appeal to different learning styles?

Mark which type of learner would find an activity "appealing"
___ visual
___ auditory
___ kinesthetic

_____ 5. Are there at least 30 minutes of interactive learning during the overall training? (The longer the session the more interactive training is needed. This means the trainer is not talking much.)

_____ 6. Are there opportunities for the learner to practice?

_____ 7. Do the activities increase in difficulty?

_____ 8. Are there limitations to the training techniques used?

If "yes," how can you overcome them? _________________________________________________________________

If "no," review information on commonly used training techniques.


Training Activities Checklist

Directions: Read the questions below. When you are finished read the answers on the answer sheets.

_____ 1. Can you identify what you are teaching (knowledge, skill, behavior,
application, value, or interest)?

If “yes,” which is it?

Training activities or techniques are often driven by what is being taught. If you are teaching a skill, put away that PowerPoint presentation. Practice, practice, practice is what is called for. So ask yourself, what are my learning objectives? What should people be able to do when they leave the training?

_____ 2. Do the activities go from the simple to the complex?

Adults learn best when presented with building blocks from the first steps to the most complex.

_____ 3 . Can the learner bring his/her present life to bear with the teaching
technique you are using?

Adults learn best when the new information is connected in some way to previous experience. Teaching activities should do that in order to increase the retention.

_____ 4. Do your activities appeal to different learning styles?

Mark which type of learner would find an activity "appealing"
___ visual
___ auditory
___ kinesthetic

All training sessions have different types of adults with different learning styles. A short session-30-45 minutes still needs all three types of learning styles in the training activities. Mix up the activities for better retention. Or better yet, use a training activity that incorporates all three.

_____ 5. Are there at least 30 minutes of interactive learning during the overall training? (The longer the session the more interactive training is needed. (This means the trainer is not talking much.)

At the end of 25 minutes the training activity should change. And the more the trainee is having purposeful dialogue with someone else, the higher the retention rates.

_____ 6. Are there opportunities for the learner to practice?

Depending on what is being taught the opportunity to practice is key. Just telling someone about something does not mean than any learning has occurred.

_____ 7. Do the activities increase in difficulty?

A complicated learning activity with multiple parts is not the way to start a training session. Begin with uncomplicated, straightforward exercises and increase complexity as the training session moves on.

_____ 8. Are there limitations to the training techniques used?

If "yes," how can you overcome them?

No one teaching technique is perfect. Each one, small group discussion, case studies, lectures (PowerPoint Presentation), games, exercises, has limitations. This is why it is so important to vary the teaching techniques or activities. Knowing this can help in revising training plans to be more effective for the adults who are learners.

If "no," review information on commonly used training techniques.


Volunteer Management Certificate Program

Earn a professional development certificate in volunteer administration online--standard and advanced certificates are available. Sign up any time, do assignments at your own pace, and work on projects directly related to the work you do. For more information on the Washington State University Volunteer Management Certificate Program go to: http://capps.wsu.edu/certificates/vmcp/default.asp.


Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA)

Volunteer Today encourages mangers of volunteers to enhance their skills and effectiveness on the job through a variety of educational opportunities. Experienced managers of volunteers can highlight that skill achievement by seeking the Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) endorsement. The Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA) advances the profession and practice of volunteer resource management by certifying individuals who demonstrate knowledge and competence in the leadership of volunteers. Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) is an international credential awarded to practitioners with at least 3 years of experience who successfully complete an exam and written portfolio process. Originally developed by the Association for Volunteer Administration (AVA) several decades ago, the credentialing program is now sponsored by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. For detailed information visit their Web site at: http://www.cvacert.org.


COLLEGE PROGRAMS ON NONPROFIT AND VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT

Close to 200 colleges and universities offer academic programs on nonprofit and volunteer sector management. They are usually master's degree programs, but not always. American Humanics sponsors undergraduate programs, as well. If you are looking to push out the professional development window, consider taking a course at one of these colleges. A full list resides at http://tltc.shu.edu/npo/. Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with this list.



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